What is a Product Catalog Generator?

product catalog generator

If you are reading these lines, it is probably because you are looking for a quick and precise way to create your product catalog. But let’s start with the basics.

Table of Contents

What is meant by Product Catalog?

The product catalog can be understood in various ways:

  • A catalog containing all the items you want to sell, with related product information, such as description, color variations, sizes, etc. Very often it is found in its paper version but more and more it is found in PDF format, which can be downloaded from the company website.
    Somfy catalog


  • A catalog identical to the one just described, but in addition to the product attributes, it also contains the prices of the items.
    Maax catalog


  • A browsable digital catalog, more commonly known as a flipbook. Basically, the classic paper catalog that we all know, but in a digital version, that is viewable only on a monitor (computer screen, smartphone, tablet, etc.).
    Flipbook catalog

What do I need to create a product catalog?

The basic elements to automatically create a product catalog using a product catalog generator are as follows:

  1. Template
  2. Data file
  3. Assets




A template, usually in Adobe InDesign format. By template, sometimes also called layout, we properly mean an InDesign file (INDD or IDML format) that contains the specifications related to the design of the document to be created. The basic elements that make up the template are:

  • The layout of the index (division into categories and sub-categories)
  • Master pages, which define headers and footers
  • The colors of our document (color swatches)
  • The product layout, i.e. the set of all the information that must stay close to each other because they refer to the same item: item name, description, image, technical drawing, item code, attributes, price, icons, accessories, options, etc.
  • The layouts of other sections: section cover, analytical index, numerical index, etc.

Data file

Data file

The data file is the document that contains all the information that you want to transfer into the document. Using a product catalog generator, such as Pagination, it is also possible to manage different data files simultaneously. For example, an export from the ERP, containing the following fields: the item number, description, and price, and an export from a PIM containing all the other characteristics of the products. Using a powerful data integration system, the product catalog generator will fetch the information from both data files and layout them in the InDesign file.



The last element, which is used to automate the creation of a document, are the assets, i.e. product photographs, technical drawings, set photos, icons, supplier logos, etc. These elements can be in different formats:

  • Vector (ai, eps)
  • Photoshop files (PSD)
  • Image files (jpg, jpeg, tiff, png, gif, bmp, etc.)
  • PDF format
  • and so on.

Below you will find the list of all files that can be imported from InDesign: https://helpx.adobe.com/indesign/kb/supported-file-formats-indesign-cc.html

If you use Pagination, the product catalog generator, you can import assets in two ways:

  • By uploading all physical assets to Pagination. If this mode is chosen, the names of the assets must be specified in the data file.
  • By exporting public URLs, of your assets, into data files. In this way, it will be sufficient to access the product catalog generator (Pagination), load the data file, and that’s it. This solution is very convenient if you already have good quality images on a DAM, PIM, in e-commerce or already loaded on similar solutions.

How does a Product Catalog Generator work?

pagination interface

Pagination’s product catalog generator is super easy to use. First of all, it is a cloud service, that is accessible from any browser and from any operating system, 24/7. You don’t need to install any software and you don’t need to update it. Pagination is always ready and updated to the latest version. The only thing needed is an internet connection!

As for the actual use, the interface is really intuitive and user-friendly. Just follow the project steps to create your own document. The steps, which are customized according to the customer’s needs, are at least three:

  1. Select Project
  2. Upload the data file
  3. Launch the process

Further steps can be added which allow, for example:

  • To create a version with prices or without
  • To choose the language of the document
  • To choose prices in a specific currency
  • To choose which template or color to use,
  • And so on.

Once you click on the “Launch” button, the product catalog generator will automatically create both an InDesign package file, containing the INDD files, the INDB file (InDesign book file), the fonts, and the links (assets), and two PDFs, one for printing with margins and bleeds and high-resolution images, and one for the web with low-resolution images.

The user who is creating the document will receive two emails, the first will inform that the process has been successfully started, the second email will contain a link to automatically download the newly created documents.

Pagination also checks the data file for duplicate codes, missing or incorrectly named fields, missing images, etc. This type of control can be implemented on the basis of customer needs.

Once the document has been created, you will be able to:

  • View the web PDF directly on the browser
  • Download the zip file containing the InDesign files
  • Download the data file
  • Delete the newly created document (to free up space in the Cloud).

What are the benefits of a product catalog generator?

The advantages of using a generated product catalog, such as Pagination, are as follows:

  • Create your own InDesign and PDF documents faster
  • Make sure the product information is correct
  • Avoid review times
  • Don’t lose know-how when the designer, who is in charge of the project, changes jobs
  • Anyone in the company can create documents. In fact, no specific skills are required.
  • There is no cost to upgrade software when InDesign is upgraded
  • There are no minimum system requirements.
  • No dedicated computers are needed, as the process takes place on servers.
  • There are no setup costs
  • The service includes customer service via email and web calls for the entire duration of the contract.
  • You don’t have to compromise. Being a turnkey solution, the Pagination team will create all the necessary rules to get the layout you want.

How can we understand if it is a solution suitable for our needs?

Pagination is a product catalog generator that is built based on data and the InDesign template provided by the customer. For this reason, there is no free trial.
What you can do, however, is test the functioning of Pagination, following these simple steps:

1. Click here and fill out the form with your data. In the last field write FREE TRIAL REQUEST. Then just click the green “contact us” button and you will receive an email at the address you entered.

2. Download one of the following templates https://pagination.com/template/professional-edition/

3. Fill out the Excel sheet with your product information. You will find a PDF guide on “How to fill in the Excel sheet”.

4. Once the data file is ready, reply to the email you received (after completing step 1) indicating:

  • The name of the template you want to use: PRO 1 or PRO 2
  • Attaching the Excel file
  • Attaching the image files you want to insert in the catalog (if they weigh more than 20 MB, you can use WeTransfer).

5. Within 24 hours (weekends excluded) we will send you the PDF created with your data or we will show it to you during a web meeting as you like.

Need a Product Catalog Generator?

Publishing a catalog is a challenging task that can put pressure on even the best marketing teams.
You can use Pagination, the Product Catalog Generator to automatically create beautiful documents in just a few seconds that are always ready for print or digital distribution.

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Create your automated document!

Use one of our free InDesign Templates or upload your own layout. Create documents anytime and from anywhere.